Amol Palekar’s Paheli has been selected as India’s entry for the 2006 Oscars. I watched the movie in theatre a couple of months back. I quite liked it. I won’t say that it was a ground-breaking film or the very best this year, but the story-line was quite different (based on a folk tale) and the cinematography was excellent. I guess what worked for Paheli was its pure ethnic (Rajasthani) feel – all the way from the costumes, the music (instruments used), the dialect and even the embedded metaphor (i.e. personal desires around social bindings).
I would have voted for Black any given day rather than any other Indian movie this year to contend in the Oscar’s. Even Swades and Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi were good. However, in my opinion the chances of Paheli winning an Oscar are bleak, considering the tough competition it might face from the quality of world cinema features. I think that probably the closest any Indian movie has come to winning an Oscar (any category) was with Little Terrorist (2005) and Lagaan (2002) as a close next.